The World Health Organisation in its report named ‘Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders- Global Health Estimate‘ said that over five crore Indians suffer from depression which is a major contributor to global suicides which occurs mostly in lower or middle-income countries. The study also revealed that 320 million people live with depression worldwide and nearly half of them live in Western Pacific region and South East Asian reflecting the large populations of China and India.
There are two main categories:
- Depressive Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
These disorders are highly prevalent in the population and impact the mood or feeling of the affected persons. Symptoms vary in terms of severity and duration. The disorders are diagnosable and are quite distinct from feelings of stress, sadness or fear.
These are characterised by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, disturbed sleep and appetite. These can further be categorised into two categories: major depressive disorder and dysthymia.
Major Depressive Disorder involves symptoms such as depressed mood and loss of interest and enjoyment.
Dysthymia is a persistent or chronic form of mild depression and it is less intense and lasts longer.
It refers to a group of mental disorders characterised by the feeling of anxiety and fear. This also includes panic disorder, phobias, generalised anxiety disorder etc.
People affected by depression
At a global level, 300 million people and over are estimated to suffer from depression which is equivalent to 4.3 percent of the world’s population.
Highlights of the reports
- The global population with depression in 2015 was estimated to be 4.4 percent. Depression is more common among females (5.1%) than males (3.6%).
- The total number of people living with depression in the world is 322 million and nearly half of these people live in South East Asia and Western Pacific Region which include India and China.
- The total estimated number of people living with depression increased by 18.4% between 2005 and 2015 which reflects the overall growth of the global population as well as a proportionate increase in the age groups at which depression is more prevalent.
The report provided a comprehensive assessment of mortality due to diseases and injury for all regions of the world. In the year 2015, 788,000 people died by committing suicide and many more attempted. It is one of the top 20 leading causes of death in 2015. 78 percent of the global suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries in 2014 and India accounted for the highest number of suicides in the world in 2012.
Mental health is a serious problem and we need to address this issue collectively. We should aim to remove the stigma attached to seeking help in the form of therapy or counselling sessions. If you know anyone who might be suffering from depression, please reach out to them and encourage them to seek help. You can read more about the symptoms here.